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Published October 31, 2011, 06:29 PM

Opening arguments begin in Zornes trial

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - A Clay County jury today saw gruesome video and pictures from a South Moorhead murder scene that claimed the lives of two people.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

A Clay County jury today saw gruesome video and pictures from a South Moorhead murder scene that claimed the lives of two people. 38 year-old Tracy Zornes is accused of killing Megan Londo and John Codotte on February 19th of 2010. Jurors heard both sides present opening arguments in the case this morning.

One thing that did not come out of opening arguments on day one of testimony? A motive. But what is clear, is that fire and water from fighting that fire, destroyed potentially key evidence in the arson/murder case.

The irony of this murder trial is the fact the two who died, John Cadotte and Megan Londo did not know Tracy Zornes until the night they died. The only thing that brought them together was a need for a ride back to the White Earth Indian Reservation. But what families of the victims failed to learn today is why Zornes allegedly murdered the two. There is no motive.

Prosecutors argue before starting the apartment on fire Zornes smashed the skulls of both victims before he stabbed John Codotte in the back; Londo in the heart. He then allegedly set fire near the victims, and locked the door, taking a smoke detector with him. That smoke detector would later be found in the burned out car near Mahnomen that Zornes stole from Cadotte at the murder scene.

Zornes defense team will argue evidence will not show where that smoke detector came from. In addition, defense claims with all the evidence collected there is no DNA, no fingerprints, no direct evidence linking Zornes to the murders. Prosecutors concede fire and the water used to put it out, destroyed evidence at the scene. As friends of the victims wept at gruesome crime scene photos, the defense was quick to argue with all the evidence, none of it will show who was at the apartment or committed the murder.

And this note, you may recall Zornes was on the run following the murders. He was already wanted on warrants. Authorities say Zornes built a camp in the woods in rural Mahnomen County, made of branches and blankets. He lived in that make shift hut for two weeks before investigators arrested him.

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